Quilt Coat and other adventures – Part 1, “It’s Rachel’s fault”
I started my quilt coat. And I’ve made some odd decisions that I must explain. Unfortunately the instructor for the class is ill, so I decided to forge ahead on my own. I may be doing several stupid things😊
First, a story. I was Program Chair for my local quilt guild, the Folsom Quilt and Fiber Guild. Twice. On my first go round, maybe 2006-ish?, I hired Rachel DK Clark to come for a lecture and class. Rachel is a phenom; she is a prolific maker of exquisite garments (mainly coats), also makes fabulous quilts and is just a hoot. Models were needed for her fashion show and I volunteered.
I will not forget this moment: I am slated to model a white-on-white shorter jacket. Oh. My! It was lined in a flaming turquoise slippery fabric. I LOVED the white-on-white, the unexpected turquoise lining and….the way it FELT to slide into that jacket. It was divine. I never forgot that.
Fast forward to my current coat-to-be. I was surprised the supply list said I needed a quilt that was 3 x the width of my coat and the coat itself should start out over-sized; that meant I needed a quilt that was 60″+ wide and long. I thought, oh, I surely have something.
Surely there would be something in this pile of no-longer-loved quilts (some are loved but just never found a place in my decor). Not. All were too small. Then I thought I could mix and match, but none were even big enough for that.
Welllll, I’ve got some orphan squares laying around; perhaps I could make something out of them:
These too were maybe 2006-ish? The gold is gorgeous Radiance (silk/cotton blend) and it is luscious. But I really didn’t have enough squares for this. Keep searching….
Oh yeah, I have 14 of these vintage squares bought at some guild’s show, maybe 2003-ish? But their shape and size did not lend themselves to a jacket.
And, I had these blocks from a Freddy Moran class maybe 2008-ish? But again, not enough for the jacket and I am no longer wild about these fabrics.
By the way, the above 3 collections are NOT UFO’s! They are AI’s, Awaiting Inspiration. UFO’s have a clear path to completion and just need to get done! AI’s are lovely bits that need inspiration for completion. And that’s the story I’m sticking to!!!
This is where I landed. I used all my squares acquired maybe 2001-ish from the Gold Bug guild’s show. They are not well constructed by today’s standards: many of the pieces are themselves pieced with tiny pieces, they are certainly not accurate, the pressing plan – well there wasn’t one, they are pressed willy nilly, and, some of the joinings are maybe 8 layers? They produce quite a bump.
Despite all those “issues”, I LOVE these squares! I like the colors, the shirting fabrics, the occasional light stain or hole in the fabric; all that adds character.
The square sizes varied considerably so I went with an odd in between measurement and sashed them at 11 3/4″, which worked out surprisingly well. I’m pleased!
I started to back this with fat back cotton and then remembered Rachel’s coat with its slippery lining…. I decided to line it with silk!
That may seem like an extravagant choice, which it is of course. But, lookie here:
I’m 68. That is my silk stash, 36″ wide by 16″ high. And that’s not all of it. I need to start using it! So I am. Silk will make this coat feel divine to wear.
I ended up doing a lot of piecing to make the back big enough and I exhausted 4 different silks in the process. Those silks are lovely! Wanna know where I got them?
JoAnn’s!!! Waaaay back, early century. the J word used to carry nice silks, truly nice silks. They decided to stop carrying it, so they put it on sale. And I followed that ride alllll the way down, buying silk yardage at 30%, then 50%, then even 70% off! I got a nice haul from that.
There is one problem with that: it makes my coat “precious” and this is my first quilt coat. I always advise my students to not make a project that uses a new-to-you technique too precious or you won’t take risks and learn. So there’s that.
Also, I used wool batting. Yes, wool. I did not use the whole layer of wool, that would make my frame appear 10 lbs heavier, and who wants that? I teased it apart and used “half batt” of the wool. This coat is going to have a lovely feel and drape and that excites me! I am not a fan of the armour that some quilters make with heavy, bulky wearables. This should be light-as-a-feather and supremely drapeable.
Now, to figure out a pattern. I have several, just need to choose one and make a toile to perfect the fit.
I will free motion quilt the above “quilt” for the garment before I cut the pieces. I pondered the best choice on fills and I chose one I NEVER use – a simple meander. The blocks are wonky so no straight line pattern will work. The fabrics are old and any contemporary fill would look odd. So meander it is.
I hope to work on my coat this week. IF nothing goes wrong I would have it done by next week! What do you think the chances are of that? This should be fun!!
I’ll share at:
Sorry that class didn’t fly but I love your attitude and your thought process…quite a challenge for December! BTW, I sent you a card % Meissner’s F….
I’ll be anxious to see your coat!
Jenny Lyon says
Aw, thanks Nadine! I am excited about this coat.
Del Walker says
I’m waitlisted for quilted coat class at a local shop and this is good information to help me make choices for my ‘quilt’.
Can’t wait to see your finished coat.
Rachel Clark says
Ah, Jenny, Jenny, Jenny, you had me laughing out loud with this post. I have broad shoulders, so I can accept the blame. I loved all your choice, and they have great potential for coats. Your final option is divine. While my approach is quite different, I know your quilting is gonna make that coat sing.
I was particularly intrigued by AI. I am glad you explained what it meant. I love it! I have lots of those.
About that silk, this is my philosophy, that lining is the fabric nearest to my body, and I am the more precious. Therefore I should experience that wonderful feeling of silk next to me.
Jenny Lyon says
What a lovely response Rachel! You continue to inspire and, amuse me! I will quote you on the silk next to the body thing, well said. Hugs.
What an adventure you’re starting! Can’t wait to see how it all plays out, but I know it will be phenomenal, cuz you’ve got skills! One of the things I love best about you is that you go with the flow, and don’t worry about perfection. And I love what you said about being a certain age, and why am I waiting to use that gorgeous silk? It’s so true, we buy stuff because we love it, and then we don’t use it because we’re convinced it’s too precious. It doesn’t do any good marinating in the stash! Go, Jenny!
BTW, that half batt thing… sounds like a great idea, but looks like a LOT of work. Is there a trick to that?
Jenny Lyon says
Thank you so much Susan! Perfection is over rated!! Half batting is simple really, just tease it apart. It is VERY unexacting. There will be more bare and more thick areas and sometimes a little flat will come off. I just plop that on a bare area. Some brands “tease” easier than others. Don’t ask which brand I use – I am generally ambivalent about that.
Can’t wait to see what pattern you pick for your jacket. If your life is like mine, it will take months to finish. Other important projects keep coming up.
Jenny Lyon says
I ended up with the Tamarak. YOu’re right, this is going to take a LOT longer than I thought!
Diane M Morrow says
I want to thank you for showing how the Line Tamer ruler is used for Stitch in the Ditch. I bought the ruler from you several years ago when you came to our guild with a trunk show and class. I didn’t know how to use it but since you showed it, I have been using and love it. Thank you.
Chester Piecemakers Quilt Guild in Chester, Ca
Jenny Lyon says
Diane I am so happy to hear this! I think the Line Tamer is a game changer and I’m glad you do too. Rock on!